Ghana raking more benefits after receiving flights for other countries due to poor visibility caused by unexpected harmattanby Berlinda Entsie
Ghana has begun raking some benefits after receiving aircraft bound for other West African countries but could not land there due to the harmattan haze.
According to the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the benefits are due to the its investments and the robust aviation navigation installations it has deployed over the years as part of measures to make the country the aviation hub in the West African sub-region.
The aircraft diversions to Accra follows a consensus reached by aviation sector experts in West Africa that the KIA had better air navigation and instrument landing systems needed to guide aeroplanes down, even during intensified dusty dry winds.
The Corporate Communications Manager of the GCAA, Mr Eric Mireku Amaning said this while in an interview with Accra based Daily Graphic on Thursday, February 14, 2020.
He noted that so far, about six West Africa-bound international flights, mostly en route to Nigeria, had been diverted to the KIA.
“The flights diverted to Ghana included British Airways (BA), Delta Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Air France, Qatar Airways and RwandAir. They were diverted from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, both in Nigeria, between February 10 and 12, this year,” he said.
Mr Amaning explained that flights bound for Nigeria were being diverted to Accra because Ghana had deployed better instrument landing systems and other navigational aids for aircraft take-off and landing.
“We have better instrument landing systems and other navigational aids, such as Doppler Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Radio Range, to help aircraft land in bad weather.
“In safety, Ghana prides itself as having one of the best safety records across the world, and it was no wonder that the International Civil Aviation Organisation scored the country 89.9 per cent in its Coordinated Validation Mission,” he said.
Adding that “We are currently benefiting immensely from the situation, as the airlines pay landing and overflight fees for the diversion. Because of the situation, most of the passengers have not been able to travel back to their respective countries and that is another cash in for Ghana,” he said.
He observed that some of the aircraft involved in the diversion were currently at the KIA, awaiting improved visibility from Nigeria in order to depart.
Meanwhile, the Officer in charge of the KIA Meteorological Office, Mr James Dusu has noted that “The atmosphere will remain dry and hazy, with a drastic reduction in visibility values of less than one kilometre to a little above three kilometres to be observed.
Adding that “Relative humidity values are around 20 percent over the northern part of the country, 20-30 per cent over the middle sector and 25-55 percent over the coastal belt,”
Since last Monday, the harmattan haze has crippled flight services in most countries in West Africa, with some of the airlines operating in the sub-region being either delayed or cancelling their flights.
Nigeria, the worst hit by the hazy atmosphere, has been diverting its international-bound flights to Ghana.
The development, which inconveniences both passengers and operating carriers, is not helped by the sub-optimal performance of instrument landing aids at airports in Nigeria.
The most affected areas are reportedly Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, where the harmattan presence has been strong.
would be assessed to see if the hazy conditions would persist in the coming week.